A few days ago, I ventured to a quaint pottery painting studio named The Pottery Experience. I had walked past the front window of this quirky studio multiple times a day. I continued to stare in at the line of painted pottery drying on the window sill and trying to think of an excuse to visit. I was planning to visit on my 20thbirthday, which is just weeks away, however I could not resist any longer. I wandered into the shop early on a Thursday morning to be welcomed by a friendly face. I had convinced myself that the studio would be fully booked all day, although I was informed by a lovely staff member named Hazel that I could wander in anytime at all in the afternoon before 5pm. Upon my return the sun had finally managed to push through the clouds and the shop front looked incredible. The brightly coloured ribbons tied around the front gate were wistfully blowing in the wind and the freshly furnaced pots were glowing on the window sill. This shop has been decorated beautifully. I walked in and saw how delicately laid out every item was. Each table was set and ready for a pottery painter whatever their age or level of expertise might be. The atmosphere was so welcoming as I walked in to see that same friendly face emerging as Hazel welcomed me once more. She seated me and my boyfriend down at a table in the window. The atmosphere inside the studio was incredibly calming. The gentle tunes of Classic FM were playing, and the room slowly became full of enthusiastic painters (like myself). The Pottery Experience has a great community feel. It is perfect for people of all ages. I felt a little apprehensive having not painted a piece of pottery since my 10th birthday, yet Hazel helpfully took us through each step.
- Picking my piece of pottery
I stood staring at the wall of pots for quite a while. Unlike my boyfriend I stood flip flopping between mugs, plates and bowls. I wanted something practical and affordable. Pottery painting can be a little expensive sometimes, although I was happily surprised to see how reasonable the prices were (especially as students receive a 10% discount too). I finally managed to make up my mind on a new mug to add to my collection which would cost £13.50 in total with my student discount.
2. Sanding down my mug
Then I began to sand down my mug to make the surface smooth and ready to paint. I am sure you can imagine that skin crawling sound of a plate and mug being sanded at the same time. Nevertheless, it was all worthwhile!
3. Sponging away any debris
As I sat thoroughly wiping away any dust that had gathered in my mug, I noticed the hand written menu in the middle of the table. I glanced over the options and could not believe how affordable the beverages on offer were. I am a lover of coffee (as you can see from my previous post), but there are very few places you can find a latte in Newcastle for just £2 in such a funky setting.
4. Picking my design
Personally, I have never been to a pottery studio that offers SO much choice in regard to stencils. There was a line of brightly coloured folders covering numerous topics from everything Newcastle related to plants and patterns. It was incredibly helpful to my boyfriend who had his heart set on doing a graduation themed plate starring the Angel of the North. I have not hand drawn anything since my graphics lesson in college so I was incredibly relieved to see that I would have a little help creating my plant themed mug.
5. Tracing my design
Hazel emerged with a piece of tracing paper which would help us copy our designs onto our pots. I placed the black material onto the pot and rested the picture of a snazzy little cactus on top. Slowly I began to use a pencil to trace over the outline of the cactus.
6. Painting my design
Whilst painting multiple layers of pastel pink paint I admired all the pottery dotted across the table. It was great to see examples of how the colours appeared after emerging from the furnace and the different techniques we could use to add the final details. I opted for the permanent pencil (which was the ideal tool for adding the spines of my cactus!).
7. Off to the furnace
After about two hours of delicate brush strokes and a lot of layers of paint I managed to finish my design. I was proud of what I had managed to achieve in a few hours and could not wait to see the finished piece. I had my fingers crossed over the next few days that my mug had not cracked or broken in the furnace (I was informed that if this is the case you receive a token to do another pot completely free of charge).
8. The finished piece
I rushed in eager to see the finished product just over a week later and I was over the moon with how my design turned out.
- Affordability – 8/10
- Staff – 10/10
- Experience – 10/10
- Student Friendly – 8/10
- Atmosphere -10/10
My pottery experience as a whole was AMAZING. I cannot recommend this studio enough. Painting pottery can be really therapeutic. I would recommend this to anyone in need of a break from the chaos that everyday life can often bring. This place is a wonderful asset to Jesmond. If you ever find yourself in the area, then you must pop in or book online to visit soon!